Hollywood gets a makeover

Jean Maurice Duddin – Journal de Montréal:

A few years ago, Hollywood Beach began a major restoration of its broadwalk,public squares and arts park to revitalize its infrastructure and revitalize the tourist destination that, even today, is arguably the most recognized pied-à-terre of Quebecers fleeing… winter. The number one winter destination

The Broadwalk is made of interlocking stone, with a built-in bike path, a jogging trail and, on the other side of the small wall, the sand forms a wide beach to the sea for four kilometres. The sun is round as a balloon, the sky is bleached blue, the sea cooing and people live in slow motion.

If Hollywood is the number one destination for the famous winterers, the thousands of retired Quebecers who flee the snow every winter for the warm Florida sun, the coastal city is also a wonderfully landscaped site for a beach holiday.

These improvements are welcome for Hollywood which is best known for its famous Broadwalk, erected in 1925 by a visionary and founder of the city, Joseph Young. He wanted to make this part of the country the upscale center of the American East Coast in the image of the film capital, on the Pacific coast, the first Hollywood.

Its pedestrian walkway along the beach is the only one that exists on the hundreds of kilometers of beach in Florida. Quebecers who are used to staying there will appreciate the $14 million investment made to redo the Broadwalk, all interlocking stone, once made of asphalt, with a bike path, a jogging path and a pretty wall with 1920s-style streetlights that divide the beach from the huge pedestrian walkway.

Even if before the high season we sometimes hear French speak on the beach, Hollywood becomes the American capital of Quebecers from mid-December until the end of winter.

“On the beach, you’ll only hear French,” says Quebecer-born Richard Clavet, owner of five motels in Hollywood.

Hollywood more than any other destination in Florida is arguably the most recognized pied-à-terre of Quebecers fleeing winter.

Our reporter was a guest of the Florida Tourist Board and West-Jet

A peaceful place

Jean Maurice Duddin – Journal de Montréal:

Close to Miami, Hollywood hides nothing but a quiet place to rest warm, at the quiet pace of a holiday, with good restaurants, motels with perfectly suitable cuisine, by the sea and golf courses.

No big museums, no big concert halls, no big theatres, although there is a casino and a racetrack.

But all the charm of the place, will repeat to you tirelessly the Quebecers you will meet there, lies in its easy side, as much to get there, to live there safely, in peace, without too much change of scenery, as much because it is a lifestyle similar to ours as by the presence of many Quebecers.


“We come here as we go to the cottage,” says a Quebecer crossed on the boardwalk

Distance does indeed play a big part. By flying directly from Montreal in the morning, you’re in Florida in the afternoon.

By road, even though the tour takes two to three days, Florida allows you to use your vehicle on site all winter.

The clientele is also rather old, often made up of retirees.

In the heart of Quebec

Jean Maurice Duddin – Journal de Montréal:

In less time than it takes to say “poutine,” you find yourself in the heart of Quebec, even if you are 2,645 kilometres from Montreal when Linda Lessard says “hello”.

It’s hard to be more Quebecois than she is. From Quebec City, she speaks hard English, but at 47 she had had enough of winter and her boyfriend too. The last one, particularly abundant in snow, was “the cherry on the sundae”. They sold everything and took the direction of “little Quebec”.

It is Richard Clavet’s expression for Hollywood, where he has been based since 1990 after buying a dilapidated motel that has become a success story,his realization of the American dream. Today, he has five establishments with more than 100 rooms, lives with his wife with whom they raise their five daughters. A crowd of Quebecers have adopted Florida, and especially the Hollywood area, to spend the winter.

The tone has changed

With the global economy in trouble, Americans are also going out of their way to support their tourism industry, a guarantee of foreign money and economic recovery.

If, a few years ago, some American columnists denigrated Quebec winterers portrayed “like fat shirtless, always a bottle of beer in hand”, the tone has radically changed. The authorities welcome Quebecers with “open arms.” Both Julie Erickson, of Hollywood, and Jessica Taylor of Fort Lauderdale, praise the presence of Quebecers and the cultural richness they bring to their region.

It must be said that with the economic recession hitting the United States, all tourists are welcome. Even more, those who establish their winter neighbourhoods there, such as Quebec winterers.

Little Quebec in Hollywood, Florida…

It’s at Richard’s Motel that it happens…

When the winter season arrives, it is here, at home, that Quebecers meet, our gardens, patios, swimming pools, swings, galleries fill with happy French-Canadian, all happy to meet in the warm south Florida sun.

It is here in Hollywood that we have the famous “Boardwalk” where is the beautiful beach preferred by all Quebecers.

Near our establishments, you will find quebec-based companies where everyone speaks French:

1) The Frenchie Bar and Grill where you can find all the good food from Quebec.

2) The Sun Clinic to receive the services of doctors who speak French and who are associated with hospitals that have special programs for Canadians.

3) French-speaking dentist is also nearby such as the Manon Bourque clinic.

4) The STAT Clinic and the CLSC have their business places on Hallandale Boulevard.

5) Desjardins Bank, NatBank and Bank Royal of Canada all have branches near Richard’s Motel.

6) Four French-language media outlets have their business locations in Hollywood, the Florida Crossroads, the Florida Sun, The Holiday Echo and the What to Do in Florida.

7) The Can-Am Golf Group provides discounted rates for Quebec golfers.

8) Jack’s Dinner and Dairy Belle are also two Quebec restaurants on the Federal Highway.

9) French-language travel agencies are represented with Transat Holiday USA, Travel Galaxy and Go 2 Vacation.

10) There are a very large number of real estate brokers of Quebec origin who will be happy to tell you about the famous “Sales”.

11) For your legal needs, in Hollywood you will find lawyers like Master Nancy Lapierre (accident) and Marcelle Poirier (immigration).

12) Social clubs are represented with the Optimist Can-Am club and the Richelieu.

13) You will find in the region hairdressing centers, mechanics, car rental agency, insurance agent, chiropractor, accountant, etc. and each have in common French.

14) Even the local church, Little Flower, celebrates Mass in French every winter week.

15) There are also many French-speaking homeowners who own houses, especially condos and mobile homes.

In short… the little Quebec in Florida, it’s the turn of Richard’s Motel that happens …

With the pleasure of meeting you, Richard and his team.